| The Road to Aberystwyth / Y Ffordd
Robin Huw Bowen
Farewell the National Library, the trolley
and the stack,
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The Road To Aberytwyth
Traditional music from Wales performed on the Triple Harp by Robin Huw Bowen
1. Helfa'rDraenog-The Hedgehog
Ladies A-Dance/Eldra's Jig
2. Set Napoleon-Napoleonic Set
Napoleon crossing the Alps/Napoleon's Rowdy boys/ The return from Paris in the year 1818
3. Pibddawnsiau Sipsi-Gipsy Hornpipes
The Navy's Hornpipe/The Wrexham Hornpipe
4. Cig a Chwrw-Meat and Ale
Meat on a Trencher/The yellow brew
Griffith's whim/The Welsh Quack/The Cambro-Briton
6. Cogau Meirion-The Meirionnydd Cuckoos
The Cuckoo's song to Meirionnydd*/ The Meirionnydd Hornpipe/The cuckoo hornpipe
7. Hoff Jigiau-Favourite Jigs
Maids of Montgomery/Llannerch-y-Medd Hunt/Cardigan Bower
8. Waltsiau Sipsi-Gipsy Waltzes
Fairy GlenII/Fairy Glen I
Abergenni/William Phillip's Delight
10. Alabaina Wood
The Lleweni Foresters/Alabaina's Polka
11. Jig y Doethion** -The Magi Jig**
12. Miniwets Meirionnydd-The Meirionnydd Minuets
The Dolgellau Minuet/The Nannau Minuet
13. Jigiau Crasdant-Crasdant Jigs
The Queen of Monmouth*/The King of the Moon*/The Tittle-Tattle Tipple*
14. Pibddawnsiau Fflash-Flash Hornpipes
The Flash Pad Hornpipe/The Road to Aberytwyth*
All tracks Trad/arr. R.Bowen unless otherwise noted
*Composed by R.Bowen **Composed by Ange Hauck
Farewell the National Library, the trolley
and the stack,
Farewell to all you archivists, I'm shouldering my pack:
I'm leaving dusty volumes, my harpstrings are now set,
Across the World I'll sing for Wales, and never will regret!
Robin Huw Bowen - Christmas 1986 - with apologies to Frank Hennessey
Yes indeed, it was Christmas 1986 when I gave up gainful employment at our National Library...to be happy. A desk job amongst sleepy archives just didn't suit this restless romantic. But who would have thought then that life on-the road would take me so far...?In and out of the airports of North America, back and forth along the motorways of Europe, or across the wide red lands of Australia under her broad blue skies, even right around the world once...and all of it with a six-foot Welsh Triple Harp in tow!
On reaching such a special milestone on such a journey, one does indeed look back to marvel,but also to reflect with nostalgia when one realizes there's no real turning back.Despite the troubles,losses,and negative things that have crossed my path over the years, many,many more good and wonderful things have come my way,and my life has been the richer for them.
This CD is therefore a celebration, and a totally deliberately joyous one. But I'm sure though you will forgive me for being a little self-indulgent with some things. I have revisited several melodies from my previous recordings, some of them (like the Gypsy music from Eldra Jarman) in the light of further research, and others(like Jigiau Crasdant and The Llannerch-y-medd Hunt) I've only previously recorded in a band.
I have also taken the very personal step
of dedicating not just the album itself, but each individual
track to various people who
have played some part along the way.Here's to you all, and to
the next 20 years.
Onwards and Upwards!
Robin Huw Bowen-Telnor Cymru II
1. The Hedgehog Hunt
A fiddler's jig (John Thomas 1752) is given the Welsh Gipsy harp treatment, and then coupled with the only jig I had from Eldra Jarman. she was the last of the true Welsh Gipsy harpists, a descendant of Abram Wood, King of the Welsh Gipsies, and great-grand-daughter of John Roberts Telnor Cymru, the famous 19th century Welsh Triple Harpist. It was an honour for me to have known her, and a true privelege to have received so much from her. Kindred spirit.
2. Napoleonic Set
A set of tunes dating from the Franco-Cambrian wars of the early 19th century... I had the title and the A-part of the march from the playing of Nansi Richards Telynores Maldwyn, and the rest of it from the manuscripts of John Williams Llanfachraeth, Anglesey, under the title Bonapart's March. John Williams also provided Rowdy Boys, but I had The Return from the collection of harpists Ifan y Gorlan-Evan Jones, Llanrwst. The troops' joy at returning home to Wales after the fighting and the ensuing two years' occupation of Paris is quite apparent in his tune.
3. Gipsy Hornpipes
Two hornpipes from Eldra, with wonderful examples of the technique she called Dyblu, Doubling.
To all friends responsible for and involved in the Edinburgh International Harp Festival and the Clarsach Society. Hoots!
4. Meat and Ale
Two rather captivating Montgomeryshire slip jigs, both quite old, from the fiddler John Thomas's manuscript(1752), which passed eventually to Mary Richards Darowen.
Three cheeky little numbers. The Quack and the Cambro come from English collections from the 1790's, but Griffith's Whim is from A Collection of the Newest and most Fashionable Country Dances and Collections by John Griffith of Providence, Rhode Island, USA (1788), America's earliest known printed dance collection. The book only contains figures, but the fiddler John Turner of, Connecticut (also in 1788) copied a great number of tunes into his commonplace book, fortunately including the Whim.
With thanks to Billie Hockett,
Although I've seen under the stars
the fullness and prowess
Good beer and men to tackle it,
and wine along the banks of rivers,
The best drink and the best food,
was given to Meirionnydd.
7. Favourite Jigs
Llancesau comes from the manuscript of E. Mills, a Bandmaster from Montgomeryshire in the Victorian period. He notes 'Montgomeryshire Lasses or the Heroes of Salamanca Q[uick] step'. Helfa comes from one of E.Ylltyr Williams' manuscripts, where he also notes a second name for it, Bodised(a place-name). Deidy comes from Davidson's Musical Miracles, 250 Welsh Airs for a Shilling,1859.
To all my friends out there in the Colonies, Canada, US and Oz, far too many to name!
8. Gipsy Waltzes
Two wonderful Victorian swingers from the inimitable playing of Eldra Jarman. I had snatched of F.G.I from Eldra while she was still alive, and then F.G.II from a recording made of her by Prof. Peter Crossley-Holland. Then I had the complete version of F.G.I from an old BBC programme about Eldra, safely kept (thank goodness!) in St Fagan's Museum. With thanks to Wyn Thomas, UW Bangor; Emma Lile and Meiwen Ruddock, Sain Ffagan; and Liz Veasey, BBC Wales.
Abergenni (from Playford's Dancing Master, 1657) was well-known during the Cromwellian Civil War. One Captain Gwynne, a Cavalier in the King's forces, tells of how they broke the siege of Devizes 'singing this lively tune'.
William Phillip comes from Llewelyn Alaw's collection of unpublished Welsh airs that took the prize of £10-0-0 and Medal at the Llangollen Eisteddfod 1858. To Nancy Carlin, California
10. Alabaina Wood
There are several sources amongst the manuscripts for the Coedwigwyr, obviously therefore a very popular tune in the North. It couples nicely with a (surprisingly relaxed) polka from Eldra's playing, which I've named after one of her forebears.
11. The Magi Jig
A jig composed by my dear friend Ange Hauck of Wurzburg, Germany, for a dance performed on the Feast of the Epiphany, hence the title. Ange also plays the traditional Franconian bagpipe and the hurdy-gurdy,as well as the harp,and you might be able to hear these instruments in this arrangement.
12. The Meirionnydd Minuets
E. Ylltyr Williams, Dolgellau believed these to be early compositions by John Williams Dolgellau, Ioan Rhagfyr, 1740-1821. But considering the deliberately chromatic nature of Nannau and the proximity of both places to Llanfachreth, the name Elis Sion Siamas can't help but spring to mind.He was the first to make a Triple Harp in Wales, so would it be too much to believe these tunes might be his compositions? If so, they would count as some of the earliest examples of Welsh Music for the Triple Harp.
With thanks to Rhidian Griffiths, NLW.
13. Crasdant Jigs
A re-visitation to some of my own compositions which my band Crasdant recorded on our two albums Not Yet Saturday and The Geat Noise.
I deliberately wrote them all to be played on the harp. Huw Williams came up with the first two titles.
14. Flash Hornpipes
I think Llewelyn Alaw must have had his picture taken sometime,... and there had to be a title track, so I wrote one. With all its ups, downs, bends, turns, slides, glides, and twists of fate, make of it what you will. It's been a good 20 years!
This collection is dedicated in dear memory of:
John Weston Thomas
Recorded on a Gwaun Perpendicular Welsh Triple Harp made by the late John Weston Thomas, Wolf's Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales - with special thanks to Bryon Blackmore, Llangwm, Pembroke.
Robin Huw Bowen is internationally recognized as the leading exponent and the foremost professional player of the Welsh Triple Harp. He is by now the most widely travelled Welsh folk musician. His playing and interpretation of Welsh music reflect his awareness of the unbroken tradition of Welsh harping. He was awarded the Glyndwr Medal in 2000 for 'an outstanding contribution to the arts in Wales', and his incidental score for the S4C film Eldra was awarded a BAFTA(Cymru) in 2002 for 'best original music on film'. In 2005 he was honoured with the order of Druid(the White Robes) by the Welsh Gorsedd of the Bards, and received the bardic name Telynor Cymru II - Cambrian Minstrel II.
All tracks copyright Sain
Recorded at Stiwdio Sain, Liandwrog-Medi a Rhagfyr 2006
Producer Maartin Allcock
Engineer Eryl B Davies
Mixed by Martin Allcock & Eryl B Davies
Photography Keith Morris
Sain, Llandwrog, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL545TG
01286831111 fax 01286831497
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